Over the course of the last 10 years that I've been doing gourds, I've discovered that most gourders (including myself) are what I would call "crossover artists".
Have you ever visited with one of your gourding friends, only to discover that you both also share a passion for (insert your own hobby here!) - egg crafting, stamping, crocheting, beadworking? It seems that most of use have arrived at gourd crafting in a round-about way. We have tried other crafts and hobbies - discarding a few and keeping a few that we enjoy. The beauty of gourds is that because they are so versatile in what you can create and techniques that you can use, that they are the perfect hobby for people that have tried almost everything else!
Over the years, I've dabbled in just about every type of craft I could possibly try.
For about 20 years, I had a small cottage industry creating and selling
dollhouse scale miniatures. The photo to the right shows one of my earliest
gourd/miniature combo project - which was a great way to combine my interest
in miniatures with my new found gourd passion.
Another hobby of mine was scrimshaw on ivory and bone. While I haven't
tried etching designs directly into a gourd, I've occasionally inlaid pieces of
scrimshaw into a gourd design, or added it to antler gourd stands.
The antler that holds this gourd has a small scrimshaw turtle with a
turquoise shell inlaid into the antler knob.
Right: A combination of scrimshaw
and miniatures - a dollhouse sized
scrimshaw "Whale's Tooth".
Another interest was kaleidoscopes. Of course, I felt compelled to try
my hand at gourd kaleidoscopes - combining
small kaleidoscope kits with small gourd shells.
Woodcarving was another of my favorites - I bought
my first good woodburner 25 years ago so that I could
burn feather barbs on duck decoys. Woodcarving is
the one skill that has benefited me most in gourds.
The same techniques and skills that are used on wood
are also great for gourds. Woodcarving is still one of my favorite things, so in the last few years I've been combining small carved birds into my gourd compositions.
Basketry is another hobby that goes well with
gourds. Pine needles and reed can both be used.
I think you can see the pattern emerging here -
there are ways to combine almost any other
craft or hobby with gourds! Last month, our
featured tutorial was from an artist that combined stained glass and gourds. In
previous newsletters I've shown how I use similar designs on both gourds and
ostrich eggs. Whatever skills you have or hobbies you enjoy, there is probably a
way you can combine them with your next gourd project. Do you have a box of old rubber stamping materials, scraps of fabric, beading supplies, or macrame cords? Instead of putting these items into your next garage sale, consider the ways that you can turn your old supplies and past interests into new gourd creations. Got a great idea for combining crafts? Send me a photo of your finished piece and the I'll publish some of the best designs in an upcoming issue of the newsletter.
Special Feature - Artist: Diane Calderwood
(*No funny business here, this article was written long before Diane won the ALS gourd raffle drawing!!)
As a special feature for this month, I'd like to share the art of another "Crossover Artist". Diane has been a student in some of my classes, and does beautiful gourds. In fact, a carved gourd of hers recently won first place in the Professional Handcrafters Division at the Orange County (California) Fair, and she had several ribbon winners at the California Gourd Society competition held at the Welburn Gourd Festival in June. On my recent trip to California, I had a chance to see some of Diane's other art work. Diane makes terrific rope baskets out of retired rodeo lariats!
Diane Calderwood is a self-taught artist who has been working with gourds for more than ten years. What started out as a hobby turned into a small craft business to earn some extra money while she stayed home with her daughter. About six years ago, Diane started teaching a variety of gourd classes at Piecemakers Country Store in Costa Mesa, California. Her love of gourds combined with her enthusiasm and willingness to share her ideas have made her classes very popular, and she will be a featured artist and teacher at the 2007 Los Angeles County Fair. Along with teaching and selling her artwork, her gourds have also won many awards. Five years ago, Diane became intrigued with Cowboy Rope Art. She began making and selling her baskets in Southern California where they have been well received and also award winners. You can contact Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out her current classes at www.piecemakers.com.
August updates from the desert southwest...
Welcome to the August issue of the Arizona Gourds newsletter!
Update: Gourd Classes
Only a few spaces remain in my Faux Basketry class in November. NewFused Glass and
Coiling Classes added in November! (Visit the Classes page for descriptions of each class.)
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Featured Gourd of the Month:
This contemporary piece is a bit of a departure from my normal style. This is a small cannonball gourd embellished with bone discs and hematite beads. The lid is an added piece from another gourd with a chopstick handle and a couple of bone beads.
Here are two books for all of the budding "crossover artists" that are also interested in fused glass and jewelry making.
All Wired Up has great wirewrapping and jewelry techniques for beginners, and using gourd shards instead of cabochons is one way to incorporate more than one hobby passion into your life.
Despite mixed reviews on Amazon, my recent students liked Innovative Adornments for the combination of fusing information and wirewrapping techniques. This was the first fusing/jewlery book I purchased and found it to be a valuable resource.
If you find this interesting, you'll enjoy the Fall issue of "The Gourd", the publication of the American Gourd Society. The fall issue's crafting contest features gourd jewelry.
*Be sure to visit all these different book pages to see some of the many other titles that are available. Click on each topic to see a variety of books about each subject.
I'm always looking for new and exciting things to use with my gourds. Sometimes this search leads me into new directions - see the article below for my take on "crossover art". This month I've added new dichroic glass and turquoise and other embellishments that can really add some zing to your gourds. I've found that adding a few turquoise cabochons to a gourd can increase the perceived value of the gourd and will make it sell faster than similar gourds without the added embellishments. I also added a few pieces of wirewrapped jewelry made with dichroic glass - these were made as examples for my recent glass fusing class.
I've added some new items on the "Embellishments" page - check there for inlaid shells, buffalo teeth
and painted and carved bone feathers.
ALS Fundraiser Results Thank you to everyone that supported this good cause with their donation to the ALS Association. Through the generosity of so many, a donation of $775 will be used for ALS research! The lucky winner of the raffle drawing is Diane Calderwood of Newport Beach, California! I will be mailing her the gourd along with some additional bonus gourd supplies.
Note: If your email address changes, just sign up again with your new address. Make sure to add email@example.com to your "safe senders" list.
Tip of the Month - Waxed Linen Thread Color Reference
This month our tip comes from Susan Vyskocil of the SE Texas Gourd patch in Houston, Texas. Susan recently started trying her hand at gourd art, and is currently working on adding waxed linen coiling on the rims. After ordering various colors of waxed linen, she was having great difficulty selecting combinations for each project. She tried using a sample card but that didn't help much, as the color combinations she wanted to try were too far apart on the card (and way too small) to get a good idea of what they would look like together. Then, she tried holding the spools together but still wasn't happy. Finally, she came up with wrapping the linen on bamboo skewers (used for cooking) and it worked great!! It gives her a better "visual" of what the finished product might look like, and the wrapped skewers are just about the same size as the wrapped core
that she is using on her gourds. Small dowels should work just as
well. She has written the names of the colors on each
skewer for easy reference.
*Do you have a tip, tutorial or other idea we can feature here? Please contact me.
The drawing was held at our local Tucson gourd patch meeting. Phyllis Sickles stirred the pot throughly before drawing the winning name. (Yes, that's me on the right, telling her to be sure to only pull one name!)
Newsletter Index - article and tip index from all the past newsletters